There’s really no way to sugar coat it. Kids = germs. Kids en masse = germs multiplied.
Whether they’re sneezing aggressively sans tissue or enthusiastically coughing up what seems to be a fur ball with nary a hand over mouth, small children are expert germ disseminators.
These weapons of chemical warfare often congregate inside enclosed spaces; daycare centres, pre-school and primary school classrooms meaning the ‘sharing is caring’ attitude it applied liberally to airborne pathogens.
One Perth childcare centre is following the Nordic trend and showing germs the door with outdoor nap times for kids aged 2-5. The Little Learners Early Development and Education Centre in White Gum Valley has just introduced a brand new, ‘outdoor napping’ initiative after centre owner and director, Ken Scott-Hamilton, read about the benefits of outdoor sleep.
“During the winter months, a lot of our children get sick by breathing in the same dry, stale, recycled air, so we decided to give them the opportunity of sleeping outside,” Mr Scott-Hamilton tells Perth Now.
The kids (and parents) at the Perth childcare centre have taken to the new idea with gusto, with every child choosing to snooze in the great outdoors since the program debuted back in May. Less than one per cent of students have been absent over winter, an impressive record during the cooler months.
There are rules in place for when kids can sleep outside; not if the temperature is less than 16C or if there is more than a 40 per cent chance of rain but otherwise, it’s all systems go. They’re even allowed to nap in drizzle.
“We give children the choice of not only if they want to sleep outside, but where they would like to sleep. We have a lot of natural surfaces — wood chips or grass, and if it’s drizzling we put up tarpaulins. The kids love it,” says Mr Scott-Hamilton.
The initiative echoes the popular Nordic trend of encouraging babies and children to nap outside, despite temperatures often dropping to -5C. It’s not uncommon in places like Stockholm to see a row of prams lined up in the snow outside a cafe, babies happily snoozing inside, while parents sit inside and sip a latte.
It certainly puts a new spin on snoozing alfresco!